The Program

TechStars Blog

9th February 2011

Do More Faster Book Excerpt #8 of 10: If You Can Quit, You Should

We’ve been blown away by the success of our new book Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons To Accelerate Your Startup. It’s already massively exceeded our expectations for sales and the reactions have been very positive. Amazing mentors produce amazing results, and this book is no different. Dozens of our mentors and past founders contributed to the book, and we think that makes it a very special resource for entrepreneurs.

We thought we’d blog a few chapters from the book so that you can start to get a feel for it. We’re blogging a chapter a week for ten weeks. Be sure to subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already done so.

There are seven themes in the book (Idea/Vision, People, Execution, Product, Fundraising, Legal/Structure, and Work/Life Balance).

This chapter is from the People theme. I’ve highlighted a few sentences, so you can discuss them inline. Feel free to add your own highlights!


Read this chapter (and others in this series) in the original layout using the online reader at BooksInBrowsers.com.


If You Can Quit, You Should
by Laura Fitton

Laura is the founder and CEO of oneforty, a Twitter apps marketplace, and the author of Twitter For Dummies. Oneforty raised $2.35 million from Flybridge Capital Partners, after completing TechStars in 2009.

I’ll admit it; I’m addicted to my company.

I started oneforty as a 38-year-old single mom with no technology management background. I had never built software before in my life. In fact, I felt so thoroughly unqualified to pursue the opportunity that I started making phone calls to people that I thought could build the company for me. I simply wanted to see it come to life and I thought the best way was to recruit someone else to carry out the vision so that I could be an advisor to the company.

I had two very young, cute, reasonable excuses (my kids) why it was a bad idea for me to do a startup. I had no co-founder and I knew better than to do it alone. I tried to give the idea away and to get another group to do it. And when that failed, I quit. Well, at least I tried to quit.

I spent another four months trying creative new ways to quit the idea. I kept trying to find someone else to do it because I didn’t want to do it myself. But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t quit.

I like to tell other founders that you have to be so stuck on your idea that you literally can’t even quit. There are going to be a thousand times in the process that you’re going to want to quit, so if you’re going to quit it’s smarter to do it sooner rather than later. If you can quit, you certainly should.

Even if you’re really into your startup idea, try to quit now anyway. And if you are able to quit, do it. In my case, I was so obsessed with the idea for oneforty that I literally couldn’t quit. I had to see it come to light.

If you can’t quit no matter how hard you try, then you have a chance to succeed.

Amazing entrepreneurs are like forces of nature—they are unstoppable. Laura fits this description perfectly. The first time Brad met her was several years ago at the Defrag Conference. Everyone knew who @pistacio was and she couldn’t stop talking about all the incredible things you could do with Twitter. While this might not be a big deal today, at the time Twitter was only being used by a limited number of techies and the phrase “social media marketing” hadn’t yet been created.

Laura just stayed with it. When she applied to TechStars, she was a solo founder. We told her that her chance of success as a solo founder was low. She didn’t care—she said she’d figure it out. She didn’t have a technical co-founder. She told us that it was not an issue—she’d recruit someone quickly. By this point, we had no ability to quit Laura—she’d hooked us. Today, she has a great team, strong investors, and is off to a great start with oneforty. It’s a good thing she didn’t quit.

-David and Brad


Here’s the entire excerpt series.

Like what you’re reading? Go order the book already!